Saturday, August 11, 2007

Gambino Ambassador to Sicilian Mobsters

Friends of ours: Frank "U Frankie" Cali, Gambino Crime Family, Dominic "Italian Dom" Cefalu

A reputed Gambino crime-family soldier serves as ambassador to Sicilian mobsters trying to pump millions of dollars in illicit drug and extortion proceeds into real estate and other business in New York, officials said yesterday.

Wiretapped conversations picked up by Mafia-hunters in Palermo identified Frank "U Frankie" Cali as the suspected Gambino point man between his crime family and their counterparts in Sicily, Italian authorities said.

Sources said the only Frank Cali listed in the Gambino family in the United States is a 42-year-old Sicilian native living Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He could not be reached for comment last night.

The bombshell disclosure came after Italian police rounded up 14 suspected mobsters in Palermo on an array of charges, including aiding fugitive boss Salvatore Lo Piccolo, one of Palermo's most powerful mob figures and possible successor to Bernardo Provenzano, the undisputed boss of bosses. Provenzano was captured last year after 43 years on the lam.

The probe uncovered evidence that Cali, who has close ties to a once-prominent Mafia family in Italy, the Inzerillos, would likely help the Sicilians launder tens of millions of euros in speculative real-estate deals in Brooklyn and retail businesses in Manhattan. Authorities did not disclose what those investments might be.

Telephone wiretaps and listening devices discovered close relations between the Palermo families and the American Mafia, according to a statement by Palermo police.

The Mafia has already made an agreement with the Italian-Americans in view of shared opportunities, Pietro Grasso, Italy's national anti-Mafia prosecutor, said at a recent news conference. In this new strategy, the American connections are indispensable.

Grasso explained that the Sicilians have a difficult time laundering their money in their homeland and are increasingly turning to the United States and other countries, where they have allies to launder cash.

Last May, The Post reported that the Sicilian mobsters, with their infamous history of violence and drug trafficking, were re-emerging as major powers in the Big Apple, and their ranks were expected to grow with the release of notorious Pizza Connection Mafiosi.

Sources say Cali appears to be a legitimate businessman, but investigators believe he is closely aligned with Dominic "Italian Dom" Cefalu, 60, who is currently considered the underboss of the Gambino crime family.

Thanks to Murray Weis

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